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obtain a settlement. He returned unsuccessful, being told that necessary documents were expected from France, although the vouchers had all been examined by Mr. Barclay. After waiting a long time, without hearing any thing from Congress on the subject, Dr. Franklin wrote a letter to the President, containing an earnest request that the business might be taken up and considered.

"It is now more than three years," said he, "that those accounts have been before that honorable body, and, to this day, no notice of any such objection has been communicated to me. But reports have, for some time past, been circulated here, and propagated in the newspapers, that I am greatly indebted to the United States for large sums, that had been put into my hands, and that I avoid a settlement. This, together with the little time one of my age may expect to live, makes it necessary for me to request earnestly, which I hereby do, that the Congress would be pleased, without further delay, to examine those accounts, and if they find therein any article or articles, which they do not understand or approve, that they would cause. me to be acquainted with the same, that I may have an opportunity of offering such explanations or reasons in support of them as may be in my power, and then that the accounts may be finally closed. I hope the Congress will soon be able to attend to this business for the satisfaction of the public, as well as in condescension to my request."

This act of justice was not rendered. The accounts were never settled, nor was any allowance made for what he conceived to be equitable demands for extraordinary services. It is true, that, after this letter was written, the deranged state of the Old Congress, in consequence of the non-attendance of members, may

have prevented its being brought regularly before that body; but there is no apology for the previous neglect of three years; nor does there appear any good reason why the business should not have been resumed, and honorably adjusted by the first Congress under the new constitution.

The zeal with which he had promoted the first establishment of an Academy in Philadelphia, forty years before, was revived during the last year of his life. He believed that the intentions of the original founders had not been fulfilled, in regard to the English school connected with that institution, and that the study of Greek and Latin had gradually gained too great an ascendency. He wrote a long and very interesting paper, in which he sketched a history of the Academy, with an account of the transactions of its founders and early supporters, claiming a larger attention, than had hitherto been given, to English. studies, as well on the ground of utility, as on that of the state of learning in modern times. Committees occasionally met at his house. One evening the conversation turned upon the study of the Greek and Latin languages in schools. Franklin was of the opinion, that they engrossed too much time. He said, that, when the custom of wearing broad cuffs with buttons first began, there was a reason for it; the cuffs might be brought down over the hands, and thus guard them from wet and cold. But gloves came into use, and the broad cuffs were unnecessary; yet the custom was still retained. So likewise with cocked hats. The wide brim, when let down, afforded a protection from the rain and sun. Umbrellas were introduced, yet fashion prevailed to keep cocked hats in vogue, although they were rather cumbersome than useful. Thus with the Latin language. When nearly

all the books in Europe were written in that language, the study of it was essential in every system of education; but it is now scarcely needed, except as an accomplishment, since it has everywhere given place, as a vehicle of thought and knowledge, to some one of the modern tongues.

At this time, Dr. Franklin was seldom free from acute bodily pain; but, during short intervals of relief, he wrote several other pieces, which exhibit proofs that his mind never acted with more vigor, or maintained a more cheerful and equable tone. One of these pieces is entitled The Court of the Press, in which he remarks with severity on the practice of certain editors of newspapers, who attack the characters of individuals, and shield themselves under a false interpretation of the liberty of the press. Another paper, called a Comparison of the Conduct of the Ancient Jews and the Antifederalists of the United States, is intended as a reproof to some of those who opposed the new constitution. Urged by the repeated solicitations of his friends, he likewise employed himself occasionally in writing his memoirs; but he seems. not to have made so much progress in this work, as he had anticipated when he returned from Europe.

He also drew up a Plan for improving the Condition of the Free Blacks. His last public act was to sign, as president, a memorial from the Abolition Society of Pennsylvania to Congress; and the last paper which he wrote was on the same subject. Mr. Jackson, a member of Congress from Georgia, had made a speech in favor of negro slavery. An ingenious parody of this speech was composed by Dr. Franklin, in which Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim is represented as speaking, in the Divan of Algiers, against granting the petition of a sect called Erika, who prayed for the abo

lition of piracy and slavery, as being unjust. In this pretended speech of Ibrahim, the same principles were advanced, and the same arguments were used in defence of plundering and enslaving Europeans, that had been urged by Mr. Jackson in justification of negro slavery. It is dated only twenty-four days before the author's decease; and, as a specimen of happy conception and sound reasoning, it is not inferior to any of his writings.

The state of his health and of his feelings may be inferred from a letter to President Washington, written on the 16th of September, 1789, in which he speaks as follows;

"My malady renders my sitting up to write rather painful to me; but I cannot let my son-in-law, Mr. Bache, part for New York, without congratulating you by him on the recovery of your health, so precious. to us all, and on the growing strength of our new government under your administration. For my own personal ease, I should have died two years ago; but, though those years have been spent in excruciating pain, I am pleased that I have lived them, since they have brought me to see our present situation. I am now finishing my eighty-fourth year, and probably with. it my career in this life; but, in whatever state of existence I am placed in hereafter, if I retain any memory of what has passed here, I shall with it retain the esteem, respect, and affection, with which I have long been, my dear friend, yours most sincerely."

Washington's reply was cordial and affectionate. Between these two distinguished patriots, who served their country in different spheres, but with equal fidelity and devotedness, there was ever a sincere friendship and an entire confidence. When General Washington came to Philadelphia as a member of the

national convention for forming the constitution, the first person he called upon was Dr. Franklin; and, when he passed through that city on his way to New York, where he was to be invested with the office of President of the United States, he paid him the same tribute of respect.

Although his malady and his sufferings continued, yet no material change in his health was observed till the first part of April, 1790, when he was attacked with a fever and a pain in the breast. From that time he was constantly under the care of Dr. John Jones, an eminent physician of Philadelphia, who wrote the following account of his illness and death.

"The stone, with which he had been afflicted for several years, had, for the last twelve months of his life, confined him chiefly to his bed; and, during the extremely painful paroxysms, he was obliged to take large doses of laudanum to mitigate his tortures. Still, in the intervals of pain, he not only amused himself by reading and conversing cheerfully with his family and a few friends who visited him, but was often employed in doing business of a public, as well as of a private nature, with various persons who waited upon him for that purpose; and, in every instance, displayed not only the readiness and disposition to do good, which were the distinguishing characteristics of his life, but the fullest and clearest possession of his uncommon abilities. He also not unfrequently indulged. in those jeux d'esprit and entertaining anecdotes, which were the delight of all who heard them.

"About sixteen days before his death, he was seized with a feverish disposition, without any particular symptoms attending it till the third or fourth day, when he complained of a pain in his left breast, which increased till it became extremely acute, attended by




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